As I sift through the day's photos I realize that this shoot provides a fairytale-like close to a major chapter of my childhood. I began as a volunteer when this science centre was named the Edmonton Space and Science Centre, before it was named the Telus World of Science and even before it was called the Odyssium. I was a science camp volunteer beginning when I was in grade 8. I spent a lot of my time here especially in the summer. It was almost a second home to me and the staff almost a second family. Over the years I had learned so much through my experiences here.
As time past we grew apart. High school and, eventually, university and other extra-curricular activities would fill the time once allocated to the science centre but I always reserved a place for it in my heart. These photos may seem merely an example of commercial documentary of common subject matter but they helped me realize once again how important this establishment was and will continue to be for countless individuals.
The Telus World of Science also needed an update to their image library with shots of their permanent galleries including the opening of the new children's gallery, Discoveryland. These images were all shot on 4x5 film and cropped to 2:1 aspect ratios with the expectation that they would be used as web site banners. All architectural-oriented shots taken on a jade green Toyo VX125 4x5 collapsible monorail on various negative films with various lenses and scanned with an Aztek Digital Photo Lab Professional-driven Howtek Scanmaster 4500. Gillian Crichton served as my art director and point of contact.
A selection of photographs of the first group of young visitors exploring the new Discoveryland. Some of the highlights of the new children's gallery include a water exhibit and an airport security simulator. All shots taken with the 35mm F/1.4 AF-S Nikkor mounted on a Nikon D3.
A shot of the waterworks exhibit. Existing light, 72mm Schneider Super-Angulon XL F/5.6 on Portra 400 metered at ISO 320. Shutter speed was approximately 1/2s and shot at F/11. I chose a faster film for this shot as I wanted some motion blur but I didn't want all of the floating balls to become blurred streaks.
A photo of the southern half of Discoveryland. Schneider Symmar-S 210mm F/5.6 @ F/5.6 on the new Kodak Portra 160.
The Forensics exhibit. Schneider 72mm Super-Angulon XL.
I believe the Challenger Learning Centre used to be in this area. 72mm.
Part of the Space exhibit.
The Environment exhibit. This photo took the longest to set up. Schneider 135mm F/5.6 Symmar-S on Kodak Portra 400.
The Body Fantastic health gallery. Schneider 72mm Super-Angulon XL.
Elizabeth, like Jenna, was a high priority upcoming model with whom I wished to work. I first encountered her when going through some of Next Models scout Brenda's archive of snapshots of models whom she'd scouted recently. Her look caught my attention immediately and in spite of Brenda's assertions that she wasn't yet ready I expressed my eagerness to work with her as soon as Brenda felt she was. I met Elizabeth for the first time during a practice for Beverly Gan's spring/summer 2012 ready-to-wear collection. I had some time with her after the practice and I made a few haphazard digital and silver halide stills. These first few shots with Elizabeth offered a glimpse into the profundity of the understated; the slightest change in head angle or what could have been going through her mind would result in a thousand little changes that when evaluated individually would be barely noticeable but together created something so subtle and so beautiful. These photos weren't even supposed to have been shot yet I found a few casual keepers that I've shared below.
It wouldn't be another two seasons before we would have a chance to work together and with a crew. And while this crew was just Nikolas doing hair, makeup, and fashion styling, the "crew" transformed Elizabeth into many interesting contradictions.
Two of the first dozen frames I shot of Elizabeth. Taken with the Leica M7 through the Zeiss Biogon 35/2 ZM onto Ilford Delta 400 pushed to ISO 1600 in Kodak XTOL at stock strength.
Nikolas pulled some pieces from Thread Hill which he used to style all of the photos other than those involving rope and burlap. We shot in a private nature preserve west of Edmonton. We were walking to the wooded area I originally wanted to shoot in but the light and the snow that had stuck to the branches from the wet snow fall made us stop for a few photos.
These two frames shot with the Toyo VX125 collapsible 4x5 monorail camera through a Schneider 210mm F/5.6 at F/5.6 onto FP4+ 125 processed at rated speed in XTOL. All large format film scanned with an Aztek DPL Pro-driven Howtek Scanmaster 4500. I left the original colour cast from these two drum scans.
I pulled out the M7 and the 90mm Summicron for a few snaps with Elizabeth's coat on.
We stopped in two spots in the forested part of the nature reserve. A few from the first spot.
Some of what I felt were the stronger shots from from this set. It took us a while to figure out what the light coloured lines crossing the frames laterally from the left. I believe the hypo clearing agent was near exhaustion and some of the fixer had remained after a shortened rinse step as normally prescribed when using a hypo eliminator. When hung in the film dryer, the residual fixer flowed down the strip of film and branched out, darkening parts of the film resulting in light areas in the reversal of the negative.
Another two favourites.
Considering it was -24 degrees C and colder with the humidity, Elizabeth remained convincing in all of her photos. This photo was one of two shot with the VX125 and the 135mm F/5.6 Schneider Symmar-S onto FP4+ pushed to ISO 400.
Past sundown and without direct sky access I needed to switch to the Panasonic GH2 and the 20mm F/1.7 that I had packed as backup. The digital combination gave a two stop advantage over my two available film systems. Revisiting these images I'm not sure what we created. I wish I could locate my notes about this idea. Bottom left image was a digital snap to help Nikolas evaluate makeup at the beginning of the shoot.
We returned to the studio to try out some ideas. I wasn't happy with the images but the left image was received well by some of the people who had viewed them. Right image was the last exposure of the evening.
I make no apologies for how long it has taken to blog about this shoot; I've needed some time away from the blog to prepare for some projects and to sort out some things. That said, blogging some of these shoots aren't as tedious as I had somehow convinced myself that they were so I'm trying to catch up and stay up to date with things. A new website and new blog design are on their way but I have no promises for delivery dates. Photokina and Cinec 2012 are coming up in Cologne and Munich, respectively and there are things I am preparing for my month-long absence from Canada.
There are few projects that have gotten me as excited as this image library development project I have had the privilege of working on with Livestock Gentec. We're working with a flexible ad agency-type entity collaborating closely with an executive-level manager on the client side and we are working with subject matter that often finds itself in cliche stock photography or in very literal and sometimes "cute" but otherwise intellectually stale imagery. The spaces that we have to work with are generic-looking for science laboratories so we needed to think implicitly and interpret art direction's concepts not as any stock or commercial photographer would but, in my case, as a photographer with a fashion and architecture background would. Many of the more directed shots are shot on 4x5" negative sheet film and then drum scanned in-house. The format allows me to shoot at apertures that will easily allow for motion blur while retaining depth of field control without the use of neutral density filtration. Using the Toyo VX124 also allows for generous perspective control movement to maintain parallel lines and geometric accuracy as an architectural photographer would while selective focus movements allow for an extra degree of subject separation as a fashion or portrait photographer would. Shooting onto film increases the image capturing system's resistance to chromatic aberration even with large degrees of image circle and lens axis offset. Furthermore, some photographs would need to be shot with an ultra-wide angle lens but without tolerance for wide angle-related perspective distortion. The Schneider 72mm Super-Angulon XL functioning as an ultra-wide ensures that while object placement will be characteristically exaggerated the rendition will be much like what we'd be used to seeing from a short telephoto lens in the 135 format that is more commonly shot.
A rough draft of part of the quotation that I sent my art director.
A small handful of the headshot we shot in one of the labs during one of the shoot days. In this panel we're probably looking at a combined total of over a century of post secondary education and related research. Even business managers working with this client are double-PhD's with MBA's. I was officially the least educated person on site during the shoot! Nikon D3, 135/2 Defocus Control Nikkor and with some fill from an LED panel or two with light colour temperatures set to match ambient light.
Livestock Gentech's Edmonton operations are divided between two buildings: one in downtown Edmonton and the other in the Agriculture and Forestry Building on the University of Alberta campus. These were some of the more spontaneous images we decided to create with individuals using pieces of equipment. The photographs were LED lit with my own design of lighting instrument and Corey acting as a human light stand for many of the shots. All taken with the 24-70/2.8 AF-S Nikkor and the Nikon D3.
We wanted a few shots with visible faces working at the benches. These were shot with the D3, 135mm F/2 Defocus Control Nikkor and existing light only.
We needed some creative images of the laboratory space in use but we also didn't want recognizable faces in the photos so we worked a lot with motion blur and slower shutter speeds. All taken with the Toyo VX125 and the Schneider 72mm Super-Angulon XL. The frame on the right is available in both colour and black and white but this particular drum scan was taken off a sheet of Ektar that was mistakenly processed with Kodak XTOL at HP5+/400 timings. The resulting image was interesting.
At Livestock Gentech's downtown laboratory location we took advantage of the common spaces to the library with architecturally-interesting backgrounds. The existing light was challenging as a lot of light entered from above in the centre of the building and most of the catwalks do not receive side window light. The combination of large, battery-powerable, colour temperature adjustable LED light, the highlight-compressing characteristics of negative film combined with the density decompressing capabilities of a drum scanner allow a photographer to efficiently address these challenges.
A long-awaited updated list of [mostly] photography stuff for sale. Bowens system lighting accessories, Nikon accessories, Norman battery-powered lighting, bi-colour mixable battery-powerable LED light panel, Hasselblad V-system accessories, a Horseman LE 4x5 large format camera system, large format lenses in COPAL shutters and on Sinar DB mounts and lots of other cool things. The list summarizes the sale lots including those accompanied by pictures. Let's start with items we have photos for. All product photos shot by Sébastien Guillier-Sahuqué.
100foot spools of expired, cold stored, Kodak Edupe duplication
slide film. EI 16, weird (fun?) colour casts. Enough for about 18 rolls
of 36exp. - $18ea.
35mm bulk film loader. Brand new. $12 each.
Nikon MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Grip for the D300/D300s/D700 bodies.
Allows you to unlock the higher frame rates of these cameras and use AA
batteries if desired. Included in the package is the Nikon BL-3 which
allows you to use Nikon EN-EL4/EN-EL4a batteries which were spec'ed for
the Nikon D2h/D2x/D3/D3x. Great if you need a grip and are already
shooting a D2X or D3X and have a D300 or D700 as a backup body -
standardize on one type of battery and charger! Vistek wants about $340
for the grip and $50 for the battery adapter plug. $250 total for the
Schneider Symmar-S 240mm F/5.6 in Sinar DB mount. Optically flawless. Scuffs on DB mount and on lens board. - $225
Schneider Super-Angulon 75mm F/5.6. Optically flawless. Scuffs on DB mount and on lens board. - $450 $375
Schneider Symmar-S 180mm F/5.6. Optically flawless. Scuffs on DB mount and on lens board. - $225
Schneider Symmar-S 210mm F/5.6. Optically flawless. Scuffs on DB mount and on lens board. - $225. Or $950 $750 for all four Sinar DB lenses.
Zeiss Ikon, silver - $950
Polaroid 4x5 film! Was refrigerated and not frozen. No expiration dates but the Pro 100
Polapan Pro 100 x 10sheets - $2/sheet
Polacolor Type 59 x 6sheets - $3/sheet
Polapan Type 52 x 10sheets - $3/sheet
Polacolor Pro 100 x 3sheets - $2/sheet
150mm F/5.6 Calumet Caltar S-II/Schneider Symmar-S multicoated lens in a COPAL #0 shutter. Glass is flawless and the shutter seems to fire all speeds accurately. Lens exhibits a bit of "Schneideritis" in the cement that adheres the elements to the lens barrels that should not affect image quality. $295.
Schneider Super-Angulon XL 72mm F/5.6. This lens covers 5x7 with a bit of movement or 4x5 with lots of movement. It's the holy grail of 4x5 interior architectural photography and I have one of these in my 4x5 system bag already. Glass in flawless condition. Shutter speeds sound accurate. There's a bit of wear on the finish of the exterior of the lens barrels that will not affect image making in any way. $1150.
Hasselblad Proshade with B50 adapter for Hasselblad V-system lenses. I believe the B60 bayonet is on the 80mm F/2.8 Zeiss Planar. This variable-length hood can be expanded or contracted to work effectively with a wide range of lens focal lengths. $99 and includes original box and documentation.
Metered 30-ish degree prism finder for Hasselblad V-system (500-series cameras). I think it's made by a Ukrainian camera company so it's NOT Hasselblad-branded. It's optically flawless and nice to use. The adhesives used to hold the leatherette to the prism have started coming apart. $35.
Hasselblad 90degree prism finder for V-system/500 series camera bodies. This one is Hasselblad-branded and marked "MADE IN GERMANY WEST" in the chrome mating surface. The exterior is in beautiful condition only with minor marks in the paint and the glass is flawless. $150.
Sekonic L-758dr incident/spot/flash meter with Pocketwizard triggering module. I have one of these meters myself and use it on most of my shoots. The integrated spot meter shows meter readings inside the spot meter readings inside the viewfinder without having to remove your eye from it and there is dioptric adjustability. Spot metering capability with strobes has allowed me to precisely confine a scene's exposure latitude to that of my digital cameras. I have the Sekonic exposure latitude test chart. If you can come to my studio with your cameras we can profile your cameras and upload the information into the L-758 so that you can use it to trigger exposure latitude warnings when metering. The meter is functionally flawless but has wear marks from normal use. $390.
Contax TLA 30 flash. Gives TTL flash metering capability on most Contax/Yashica mount SLRs and G system rangefinders though it'll be a bit ugly and cumbersome on a champagne-coloured G1 or G2. It'll come with a pocket softbox attachment for which velcro has already been applied. It can also be used as a manual off camera flash with full, half, and quarter power settings. $35.
Norman-compatible speedring for softboxes. The connector was designed for pre-IL2500 heads but can be adapted to the IL2500 with a nylon insert manufactured by Norman which I can include for an additional $5. $35 for the speedring.
Polaroid 545 back. Looks rough and it works! I believe it can be used with Kodak Quickload and Fuji Readyload film as well. $10.
Bowens QuadX remote control. Allows for control of all pack functions from over twenty feet. I no longer see this remote on Bowens' website or on Calumet's website so it may be discontinued. Really handy in large studios or with multiple packs or for lazy photographers. Accepts 9V alkaline battery. $95.
4x5 plastic film holders. While these are a generation or two old and don't feature the push-button dark slide locking of the newest holders I prefer the reliability and compactness of these holders. $12ea. If you aren't picking these up/need them shipped please purchase at least five at a time.
Location scouting continues to be one of the most challenging parts of preparation for my photo shoots. Within a small centre like Edmonton with relatively little variety in publicly-accessible architecture a photographers needs to be resourceful and, sometimes, a little selfish. Resourceful in a sense of thinking of locations not just as backgrounds but about variables related to terrain and changes in elevation, geometry, and light-shaping. And selfish because there have been instances where an individual with whom you share location details or someone with whom this person subsequently re-shares this information violates common sense code of etiquette. Sometimes this lack of care for space I've shared even extends to outdoor locations. There have been a few instances in the past year where I have spent hours at private nature reserves fixing what appears another shooter may have disturbed with significantly damaged shrubbery off established trail areas, discarded clothing tags, and photography-specific tape along with less specific garbage. For these reasons I'm officially closing my location black book except to those who have original location information that they can exchange granting me access that I do not already have. If you have a location to share and would like to trade please contact me. Rant aside, location information for this shoot came to me indirectly as I was cast as an extra for a television show pilot shot around this lake.
Our primary objective was to secure a solid beauty-oriented photo for Vicki so the shoot's yield is heavier with tighter face crops. We also did this shoot before I acquired a faster-than-F/2.8 prime wider than 135mm for Nikon F-mount so we were a bit limited to what I could shoot with shallower depth of field. We have a completely different team this time: Jared Tabler was our fashion stylist; Nicola Gavins for hair and makeup, and Brenda Rains agreed to come on set for a bit of model direction and overall art direction. I was pleased with the images we created together. As with working with any new team there are refinements in synergies that we couldn't realistically achieve the first time we work together and I would welcome future opportunities to work with this group.
A shot from the second "look" this shoot and one of my favorites.
Probably not the best shot of Vicki but I found it more interesting than some of the photos in which she may have looked more beautiful.
We scheduled this shoot shortly after Brenda's suggestion to have her hair dyed darker. Nikolas did the dye job at Mousy Brown's. He decided to leave some of her natural colour as highlights.
A more static shot from the same set.
Slightly wider crop from the set but still shot with the 135/2 Defocus Control Nikkor.
Makeup artist/hairstylist and fashion stylist responding to the camera.
Though I may only understand 5% of the words spoken this day I felt no less a member of this event. We've photographed countless weddings and the love and closeness I feel that is shared with this couple and their guests is easily among the warmest and most overwhelming that I have experienced in my seven years as a photographer. Thank you, Jana & Jascha, for this privilege. We have become insiders amongst mere acquaintances . . . friends amongst our favourite photographic subjects.
I'm a little embarrassed that I only blog about wedding photographs when there is something technical and photographically-relevant to discuss. It's not that I am ashamed to admit that Dong and I shoot weddings even though our specializations lie in fashion and architecture or, in Dong's case, fashion and food. I don't know from what this embarrassment stems. Perhaps it has something to do with wedding photography being one of the types of recreational shooting that we do and by only semi-admitting our involvement in this market we can participate more as outsiders and, when we don't feel there is a good fit between what we offer we can comfortably recommend a solid list of other photographers the couple should consider.
Many of the digital images in this entry were reworked in Lightroom 3.x with a MIDI controller connected through Knobroom. I'm currently using the Akai APC40 controller which was originally designed as an Ableton controller. While it is robust controller with excellent tactile feedback in the sixteen control knobs if I were to buy another controller to use with Lightroom/Knobroom I'd like to try the Behringer BCF2000 with its eight motorized faders plus an additional eight perpetual dials. The motorized faders and the memory recall functionality on the controller would allow semi-hardware-based preset recall functionality instead of having to somehow program a software bridge with the APC40 as it seems to require the software to recognize its preset keys to recall banks of settings. Using a hardware controller and mapping functions like white balance, tint, exposure, contrast, black point, recovery, fill light, saturation, split toning hues and saturations and memorizing the feel and location of the physical controls allows the photo editor to experiment with many more settings adjustments in the same amount of time. It also speeds up making similar but not exactly identical adjustments in groups of photographs which share similar lighting conditions that vary slightly. Using Knobroom allows you to view multiple images in the Library view in Lightroom to fine tune images without needing to work with the rough controls you're usually limited to in the Library view. This makes conforming a set of images in a grouping much faster and more precise.
With all that said, Jana's and Jascha's wedding shoot was one that we fought hard for. And it wasn't just because Jascha is especially handsome (okay okay . . . Jana isn't bad looking either); it was because they are a really fun couple and I enjoy talking with them and spending time with them. Later I learn that Jascha is an aspiring photographer and kite enthusiast.
Shot in Mike Isaak's and Cody Tait's "secret" mossy forest location with the Nikon D3 and the 135mm F/2 Defocus Control Nikkor. An edited version of this image was delivered to the couple shaping the ill-fitting pants and vest. I brought some clips and did what I could. I'd suggest a fitted suit and shirt as opposed to a typical formalwear rental if you're picky but I'm still pleased with the image.
I always struggle with group shots but I felt this one was interesting and reasonably natural. 24-70 on the D3.
One of the earlier shots of the couple together when we reached the forest location. Shortly after Jascha would slip and fall gracefully into a bed of moss.
With the D3 and 24-70 F/2.8 AF-S Nikkor at F/2.8. Justification for never cleaning my lenses . . . more exposure latitude and ethereal glow without editing!
Steph's and Courtney's creative with Nikolas Syhatheb was a shoot born into ideological and logistical conflict. Mode Models' Michael Meneghetti (ha, alliteration!) expressed concerns over the value of "artistic" creatives in helping models land international work because many of these shoots tend not to give clients a clear view of what these models really look like. These assertions echo what Next Models' Brenda Rains had relatively recently help me to understand; in shooting model development creatives, dramatic makeup, hair, and lighting should take a back seat to seeking a model's natural beauty through the lens of a camera. It's actually a concept that I have casually attempted to help Harvey Miedreich understand during our first meeting and to be completely honest I still have my doubts that Harvey fully understands (are you reading this, Harvey?! ) I feel that this was a concept and purpose that Nikolas understood early on in his career and I only now understand. Why he often resisted doing a more dramatic application of makeup and instead opted to extract a model's beauty rather than modify it.
Back to discussing the logistical challenges. Nikolas' full time placement at Mousy Brown's seems to have helped him become a better hair stylist for photography and film but it also has made him become much less available. Sunday is now his only full day off which, unfortunately, has made creative shoot planning very inflexible. He booked me for a Sunday for a creative collaboration and I was under the impression that he had already spoken to the two models' agents about the shoot. I found out that Michael had yet to have been consulted (Friday) so I send out an e-mail which reaches him the Saturday morning before the shoot. Michael returns my request with an outright no and so I attempt to call Nikolas and fail to reach him on his cell phone because of the phone blocker installed at the salon. I panic and physically go to the salon so that I could ask him how to proceed and Nikolas' suggested approach was to make Michael aware that the models were ready to go and help him understand the difficulty we found to agree on a Sunday.
In the end and after a phone call Michael obliges. I feel that his concerns for approving a creative booking with such short notice is well-founded; by lengthening the pre-shoot planning time an agent can use this time to better prepare a model for a shoot and also help a photographer be more logistically aligned in the time leading up to the shoot in hopes of getting better images even though these casual creatives tend towards lower-concept shooting. With that in mind I was still glad that we were able to shoot together and even though we struggled with the idea of going so natural with makeup and hair there were photos we created this day that were unique and possibly portfolio-worthy.
While Nikolas prepared the girls I floated the idea of shooting only black and white film. If we could accept monochromatic images as the only deliverables shooting with only the Leica M7 and Toyo VX125 large format camera platform would prove to be a valuable photographic exercise. And so I loaded six 4x5 sheets of Ilford FP4+ and four 36exposure rolls of the same film and we left for the photoshoot location. You can also see Mode's blog entry with their favourite images from the shoot here.
I don't know why I like this image so much. It looks unlike anything I have ever shot before. Captured with a chrome/vulcanite/MP finder a la carte Leica M7 through the Zeiss 35mm F/2 Biogon ZM on Ilford FP4+ pulled from ISO 125 to ISO 32 in a 1+1 dilution of Kodak XTOL and scanned with the Nikon Coolscan 5000. Full res crops available upon request for tonality and grain structure evaluation.
Some earlier shots. To be completely honest I had absolutely no idea how to make this shoot work with this styling and with virtually no makeup and no styling product applied to hair and in the middle of the day. But part of the charm of working with black and white again is only needing to think about contrast and mentally discarding colour from your scene. In the last photo Courtney and Steph are having a laugh at my expense after my unfortunate tongue slip. I was nervous, okay?! Hahah.
We experimented with using one of the models as a background element in a number of photos. By pulling to ISO 32 we could shoot midday with lens apertures wide open even with fabric shutter of the Leica M7 limiting us to 1/1000s maximum shutter speed.
There was an assortment of ladders between the catwalks around this small water processing facility that I originally wanted to arrange and shoot a wider angle image but the geometry just wasn't working out. Still, with a bit of direction Courtney shot beautiful interacting with the single ladder.
I worked with Steph along recently-erected construction scaffolding. While there were photos of Steph making more contact with railings and pipes I felt that the shots where there was implicit interaction with the environment through the way lines intersect created stronger images. Photos shot through the Leica 50mm 2nd generation chrome Summilux-M at F/1.4.
Nikolas touching up makeup under an umbrella, giving Courtney a piggy-back ride back to the vehicle, and spritzing everyone with some vitamin water spray.
Taken on the scaffolding with the Schneider Symmar-S 135mm F/5.6 @ F/5.6 on the Toyo VX125. Scanned with an Aztek DPL-driven Howtek Scanmaster 4500 drum scanner. And I may have flipped this film when scanning it.
A shot from the Leica through the 35mm F/2 @ F/2 just to help give an idea of the difference in lens rendition between somewhat similar relative magnifications for each lens on their respective formats.
Until recently I only knew Next Models scout Brenda Rains through legends told by fashion industry veterans. Many know her as the agent responsible for helping make Mode Models Edmonton a player in the modeling industry in Northern Alberta and for being the woman with the fabled eye for undeveloped raw material with incredible potential. We met through Nikolas one evening at Lit the wine bar on 104 St. in Edmonton and we decided to stay in contact about working with some models she was developing. She held a casting at my studio and I invited Dong Kim and Harvey Meidrich to join Nikolas and me. And what Brenda brought us blew us away.
We used the former Red Strap Market which was formerly an Army and Navy and is now used mostly as a storage space by Gene Dub Architects during specialized construction projects like for the Alberta Hotel. The space presents so many possibilities due to its current state of disrepair. A side storage room with decaying floors and ceiling houses some artifacts from when the building was still the art market and furniture from some historical building projects. Each floor presents a different architectural and lighting challenge. And there is "unofficial" multi-level rooftop access.
I met Alex at a Starbucks two years ago and I continued to see him make my half-sweet-toffee-nut-white-mochas and one-pump-cinnamon-dolce-one-pump-hazelnut-half-sweet-java-chip-Frappucino-extra-coffee-sub-mocha-white-mochas fairly regularly without realizing his potential in front of the lens. Brenda spotted him and insisted that I shoot him. At first Nikolas and I booked Alex and Jenna to shoot on the same day but with the intention to shoot them individually. But Brenda decided to bring them together and coach them to move and pose together and after seeing some of her quick snapshots and seeing them on set together we knew that we had to shoot them together.
We had reasonable but high high expectations about many factors related to the shoot. The location was familiar and constantly evolving and while there was a certain level of familiarity with the space this familiarity only served to underline my fears surrounding shooting large format and fairly slow colour film in dimly lit rooms and with smaller battery-powered LED light sources if we needed any artificial light. With all of my lenses no faster than F/5.6 and with the only film options faster than ISO 160 were black and white we often shot at between half a second to two second shutter speeds. And it didn't help that when you tell a model to hold still their involuntary body twitching increases exponentially! In spite of the number of times I had used this location we continued to discover variants to spaces we had previously used or rooms we had never thought of using. And nature decided to throw us a completely new variable; water covering the floors of some of the rooms dripping through a rooftop two floors above. More photos after the jump. And there may still be a few black and white drum scans on the way from the first look . . . I still haven't processed all of the film yet.
One of the key images that I wanted to shoot with both models. With only Portra 160 on hand for colour film and with my desire to respect existing light and only enhance it with modest amounts of controlled light from an ARRI Locaster and a custom colour temperature adjustable LED panel we were shooting half second to full second exposure times even at F/5.6 on the Schneider Symmar-S/Caltar-II S 135mm F/5.6. [JADE GREEN] Toyo VX125. Scanned on the Howtek Scanmaster 4500 drum scanner driven by Aztec Digital Photo Lab Professional. Film processed by ABC Photocolour Vancouver.
Like the previous frame, this frame also suffers from a bit of motion blur due to the low light levels and slow speed of film but the slight bit of motion blur didn't negatively impact the final image . . . at least not for me. Existing light.
Some Fuji FP-100c45 9x12cm instant proofs.
In recent shoots I've become much more aware of existing light modifiers and how the existing location geometry can adversely affect lighting from one or two simple existing light sources. With this awareness and combined with designer artificial light sources like colour temperature adjustable battery-powered LED fixtures light modification is simple. Furthermore, using all continuous light means that any video footage shot on commercial assignments can more easily be conformed to the still photographs. Using LEDs have also allowed me to enhance dimly-lit locations for human actors/models without having to completely reconstruct all existing architectural lighting.
I took some frames with the 24-70 F/2.8 Nikkor and the D3.
And a couple frames of Alex individually. Nikolas had me search for an Amish-style hat which a costume store Justin Poulsen, my architecture photography partner, directed me to identified as a Zorro hat.
The only light source in this room was a window behind me that starts about a foot off the ground and terminates below eye-level for Alex.
And with window camera right.
I switched to the 60/2.8 Micro-Nikkor and tried to get as much camera and subject/background separation as possible for a series of images with both models in a fire escape stairwell in the north west corner of the building. Jenna's yield from this set was over 90% and she very easily created new poses and expressions for every frame.
We had mixed reviews of the hat . . . Brenda and a couple other fashion people seemed to dislike it but Nikolas and I liked it.
D3, 60mm F/2.8 @ 2.8, ISO 1600, 1/200s.
Alex looked a lot like Jude Law in several of his photos in the stairwell.
From: Sent: October-06-11 10:10 AM To: Klyment Cc: Dong Subject:
Hope all is well Homie G!!!! So I was told by our videographer that our wedding video would be ready within a month and it is just 4 days shy of a month so I thought I would call him and just touch base with him and the motherfucker told me that he hasn't even started on our video because I haven't given him any wedding pictures? What the fuck? have you ever heard of anything like that? I thought the point of a video was to have a damn video not a video of pictures. Anyways I know you said it would be a while before we get the pictures back. But when you do, please let me know asap so that I can send this asshole some pictures so that we can get our video started.
The Rollei 6008AF with the Phase One P20 16bit medium format digital back and Schneider 80mm F/2.8 AF Xenotar is for sale again. It was my primary camera for fashion and catalogue work for about a year and images shot with this system still account for a major part of my portfolio. I sold this camera to another Edmonton photographer and 3D artist who owned the camera for a short while and used it on a single shoot before his living situation changed and has asked me to help him sell it. The kit includes:
Rollei 6008AF w/ internal electronic interface to connect to Phase One digital medium format backs
Phase One P20 medium format digital back
Schneider AF Xenotar 80mm F/2.8 w/ PQS 1/1000s leaf shutter (flash sync at 1/1000s with some of the most exotic out of focus rendition I have ever seen)
Rollei bayonet-mount hood for the 80mm
Rollei 19mm (I think) extension tube. Used mostly for product/jewellery photography.
Original waist level finder with a great pop up magnifier
Rollei 6000series 360degree rotatable 45degree prism finder
Brightscreen Accurfocus magnifier for prism finder
Fully-mated Arca-swiss style tripod plate
Two body batteries, one of which needs to be repacked with new cells (under $80 for the NiCd or NiMH cells and about ten minutes of work)
Two back batteries
Third party PowerEx/Maha battery charger that can charge both body and back battery and cycle nickel chemistry batteries
Original Phase One Pelican case for digital back which includes sensor care kit and lens cast calibration card
Don't get this camera if you:
have corrected vision is relatively poor or you notice halos in high contrast areas at night; this is an autofocus camera but I still recommend manually focusing it;
are looking for an ultra light system; body, back, and lens is about 5lbs total and you'll have to carry more batteries than you're likely used to;
"chimp" in studio; the transflective LCD looks amazing in direct sunlight but looks worse than a 2006-era low end colour cell phone display under indoor lighting conditions . . . but tethering works great with this system and the digital back can be bus powered over 6pin Firewire;
need a high ISO camera; the camera's ISO 800 works well but it's nothing compared to what you can get from some sub-$1000 offerings that are currently available.
You should get this camera if you:
love shooting 1:1 aspect ratio and realize how cumbersome it is to rotate a medium format camera to shoot in portrait orientation;
do a lot of black and white conversions;
shoot outdoors with strobes; the high speed flash sync is reliable and will give you four or more times as much ambient light control as a small format camera . . . and for a system price that rivals professional small format digital cameras;
are looking for a Rollei 6008AF system or a backup for your Leaf AFi or Sinar Hy6 and use pre-AFD lenses or want to use a new Phase One digital back on a Rollei 6000 series camera; the digital back, to my understanding, may be shipped to Phase One and the interface can be transferred onto any new digital medium format back;
want instant street cred; while I hate to admit it, no matter how shitty your photography may be, you'll be the most badass photographer your art director has ever seen if you have one of these . . . even when you're not shooting it;
have CAD$6950. At this price you're paying only about $1000 for the digital back.
More output samples and full resolution files available upon request.
The lens is a bit dusty but the glass is in flawless condition. Autofocus, while noisy, is quick and accurate. That said, with only a single AF point I preferred to manually focus the camera whenever I shoot it.
The camera features a very reliable metering system with auto bracketing and exposure compensation capability. While a lot of my peers may scoff at my use of aperture priority auto exposure the majority of my non-strobe work is effectively exposed with automatic exposure.
The camera was originally sold as a $22,000 kit with the digital back. I purchased the system used some time ago and I have never shot this system with a film back. The P20 has around 9000 frames counted and I have no reason to believe that the camera or lens have any more frames than the back does.
The Brightscreen Accurfocus works well for product type shots when using the included close up adapter with the 80mm lens. While using the waist level finder and magnifier works well for more normal working distances, when close focusing, the Accurfocus' magnification offers more confidence in manual focusing. The included auto extension tube maintains autofocus capability.
And of course the prism finder can be used in the "normal" behind the camera position.
An existing light photo of Vicki shot in 2007. Hair, makeup, and styling by Nikolas. Going through some of my older shoots many of my favourite images were shot with this system. If I wasn't so married to shooting my Leica M7 and Toyo VX125 and film scanning I'd be buying back this system myself.
Katherine and Tyler for the cover of a formal wear catalogue for 2008. The Rollei 1/1000s shutter and the back's nominal ISO of 50 made it possible to shoot this frame at F/2.8 and to allow the use of a location strobe system at under 40Ws so we managed to shoot all day on a single strobe pack battery.
A rejected photo from a commercial bridal shoot with Kasia and Julie. The Phase One digital back black and white conversions are nothing short of "film like"; I have never achieved such tonally-gratifying conversions from anything short of a 16bit medium format digital back. The Leica M9 and the Nikon D3 at nominal ISO have produced some of the best small format digital black and white conversions but they can't compare.
A shot of Leanna from the first shoot I did when I received this camera. The naturally square frame makes you think differently as a photographer. Furthermore, after creating a square frame you often end up with a picture that can easily be cropped to a number of different aspect ratios.
Another shot of Vicki from the same day we shot the other photo of her in this entry. The high flash sync speed allowed us to shoot day like night off a single battery powered strobe system without having to stop down the lens iris excessively.
Merran was so perfect for the images in our minds and I believe that Nikolas finally achieved something with this shoot that we had continually sought to realize for years. But in spite of how satisfied everyone seemed to be with these images, as the photographer I feel as though I left a lot of creative potential untapped and, in a sense, let down the team. Had this been a commercial shoot, achieving the original vision would have been enough justification to wrap the day. But this was to be an explorative and experimental shoot where we were to push ourselves beyond our familiar limitations. And perhaps here is where Nikolas and Merran had succeeded and I merely achieved what was satisfactory.
Originally I had intended to use the fog as a medium through which to project and "fake" many more natural light sources as if our locations had a wall perforated with rotted holes allowing the passage of direct sunlight. But upon proofing with a Fuji Instax frame I became comfortable with the composition, posing, and the found lighting that I had only conservatively enhanced with a single artificial light source even though I had brought a total of four Dedolight tungsten heads, two Arri Locaster LED arrays and two bi-color LED panels. I had become so pre-occupied with meeting a cut off time that early in the shoot I had subconsciously eliminated what I believed were non-essential elements that could jeopardize meeting this deadline. I had a few ideas that would have leant more depth to the concept and I could have used a stronger hand in directing our model but I had become distracted by the camera work.
Regardless of these personal disappointments I had discovered something through this shoot that wasn't directly related to these photographs. But that's for an offline discussion.
Two of the three deliverable images shot in the originally-intended format and medium. Ilford HP5+ pushed to ISO 1600 in Ilford Ilfosol S after being exposed through a Schneider Symmar 135mm F/5.6 (above) or 210/5.6 (below) mounted on a jade green Toyo VX125, and drum scanned with an Aztek Digital Photo Lab Pro-driven Howtek Scanmaster 4500. Lighting provided by a custom 9x9" bi-color LED panel running on a Sony V-mount battery. Fog by a Martin Magnum 800 and Martin fluid.
I guess this image serves as a setup shot.
Some of the [2minute] instant proofs from the Toyo.
Kingsway Mall's spring campaign photography planning and shooting transcended what, in retrospect, could have been the most tumultuous period in both my professional and personal life. I suppose a photographer can never fully separate living and working but this shoot's timing placed it at the meeting point of so many conflicting forces from so many directions. My parents were planning to leave the country and a large commercial realty portfolio for five weeks, my brother was still in South America, and I was developing a combined architectural portfolio when before my showcases have always contained work for which I was the sole photographer. And during this entire process Leanna, my girlfriend, closest friend, and muse of almost a decade was ending her relationship with me . . . while I was getting audited by the CRA! On top of all of this my work was finding itself a new path; it seemed to have been following the path to equipment minimalism of my architectural photography. Yet when Todd of Tag Advertising phoned me with a wild, equipment-intensive and potentially physically impossible concept for Kingsway that he wanted me to help realize I had to put many of these external factors into my "hold pile" and focus.
Corey Thompson and I spent hours testing and experimenting with different photographic projection methods in tandem with a variety of foreground light control methods. Corey had a lot of novel ideas for flagging and even for the generation of light textures for the backgrounds. As our understanding of the challenge and of strobe image projection evolved, so did a set of tools that allowed our photographic team to enable an art director to do graphic design with light all in camera. The photographer is often offered undivided credit for the success (or failure) of a photoshoot but as with many of my shoots the photographer is a relatively small part of the equation. Those who have already seen the photographs and realize what he have achieved don't give Todd Sloane and his agency enough credit for the creation of a concept that empowers a client to shoot seasonal advertising indoors in any season and for any season with minimal post processing. Todd's expertise made the difference between a hodgepodge of random projected images on the background and a well-planned interplay of projected imagery, foreground lighting, and John Chwyl's wardrobe styling choices.
I would like to thank Corey, an extraordinary art and conceptual photographer, for his continued support not just as an assistant but as a full photographer willing to lend his expertise on my sets. I often fail to adequately appreciate his contributions and his tolerance of my often impatient and unyielding nature. Thank you to Bry Acheson for her assistance with day 1 of the shoot where we continued to encounter numerous technical challenges she actively helped to resolve. Thank you to Aaron Pederson of 3TEN Photo for making available his studio with near-ideal topography for where we needed to place equipment and all at a reasonable price. And a gigantic but humble thank you to Stephen Pilby, my good friend, and his company Lighttools. Stephen's invention of the the Lighttools Soft Egg Crate allowed us to use soft light for our subjects while minimizing impact on contrast in the projected backgrounds. Without them the backgrounds would have been totally washed out. Soft Egg Crates allowed us to realize our art director's dreams of spring fashion photography in Edmonton in -28degree weather beyond expectations and within budget. I don't think any of us fully realize what we achieved with Todd's vision and Stephen's light controls and the implications these achievements will have for shooting seasonal retail advertising in markets with temperate climates. And a huge thank you to our models, Ania B, Courtney M, Riza S, and Liam, all represented by Sophia Models of Calgary. Thank you all for what we have created.
Courtney M . . . so hot that she made Nikolas question his sexual orientation for a couple minutes.
Riza . . . and recent winner of the Miss World Canada pageant.
Liam. Dylan and Whitney of En Vogue Photography, Saskatoon photographed him for Midtown Mall previously. Except he didn't have hair then.
TAG Advertising's mockups for the new campaign. I knew that we had our work cut out for us when we dissected the lighting in these mocks and realized that much of these images couldn't be created optically in a single image and some would require "negative" light sources. In 3D art the artist can create a light source that can subtract light from the scene but, at least to my knowledge, there is no way to project "light" that precisely darkens part of the scene. We could have lit everything with lekos and used extensive numbers of custom cut gobos but this wouldn't be feasible considering our time budget.
So we compromised. And here's how we did it. One Bowens QuadX 3000 power pack, one Bowens Quad head, one Calumet/Bowens ellipsoidal reflector spot lamp strobe projector, one Bowens/Calumet universal spot attachment, three Norman IL2500 heads, one Norman D12r power pack, one Bowens Esprit Gemini 250 monolight, Calumet and Chimera soft boxes, and Lighttools Soft Egg Crates on every single soft light source to maintain foreground control and direct light off of the background thus preserving contrast in the projections. Part of the reason that we chose Aaron Pederson's/3TEN Photo's studio was because we knew that we would need to project from above and around the model and that adjusting the projection would be a tedious job requiring many small adjustments. This studio offered a platform situated about 10-12feet above the ground so we could use a normal light stand and a projectionist could stand on level ground while adjusting the primary background projection light. All photos shot with the Nikon D3 and the 24-70/2.8 AF-S Nikkor directly to a custom compact PC/Windows Vista workstation equipped with an NEC Spectraview LCD2690WUxi and processed in Adobe Lightroom 3.
Here is an image I was hoping would be a billboard/2:1 aspect ad candidate but never saw light.
Experimenting with different backgrounds and a photo showing what the set would look like without an image projected on the backdrop.
With works collected from the past two years Justin Poulsen and I have finally finished assembly of my first architecture portfolio and the first portfolio that's being presented as a representation of the combined output of more than just myself. The samples contained within were all shot on 4x5 film and scanned with either the Microtek Artixscan M1 or with the Aztek DPL-driven Howtek Scanmaster 4500 drum scanner on a Horseman LE, Sinar X, Linhof Technikardan 45s, or a [jade green!] Toyo VX125 through lenses like the Calumet Caltar-II N 75mm F/4.5, the Schneider Super-Angulon XL 72mm F/5.6, and the Calumet Caltar-II S 135mm F/5.6. I have more details to discuss later but most of what I would discuss in a blog entry is already contained in the portfolio. Download a web-sized version here. The portfolio was designed for print presentation and currently one such copy exists, printed on Moab Entrada 190gsm bright white double-sided using the Epson Stylus Pro 9900 and bound in a Pina Zangaro 11x17" landscape oriented "Vista" post-bound album. If you would like to see the hard copy please contact Justin if you're in Calgary or elsewhere in southern Alberta or myself for Edmonton or anywhere else.
This image is a low resolution rasterization of the opening spread of the portfolio. See below for the full text from this spread. And be sure to check out the downloadable PDF version. I assure you that it's all buildings and no more photos of us.
These black plasticized mail tubes extend from 28 to 36" and seal easily with tape or a shipping label. Shippers Supply wants over $3 per basic white paper tube including end caps. $2.25ea or $2ea in quantities of 25 or more.
A shot of Corey's setup. Looks like three Norman IL2500 heads driven by a Norman D24r power pack with standard reflectors and spot grids plus a Chimera Medium video soft box with 20degree Lighttools Soft Egg Crate. A vacuum cleaner serves as a gobo to texture the background light cast onto a Savage Studio Grey paper backdrop. Foreground light provided by a silver reflector.